Aviation

Revealed: the fastest way to board a plane

We all know that the worst part of going on holiday is waiting to get on the plane. Don’t deny it.

Then, once you get on, there is always, always a blockage of some sort on the plane. Like someone trying to fit a weeks worth of luggage into a overhead compartment, or someone sitting in the wrong seat and having to try and backtrack down the plane.

1489022175225

We’ve been there. And it has to stop.

Most airlines load passengers on rear rows first, in blocks depending on their seating – which makes trying to board a plane probably the most time consuming it can possibly be.

And yes, it’s annoying. But it’s also costly for the airlines. According to the ABC, passenger boarding delays cost serious dollars.

For example, an idling plane can cost the airline upwards of $40 (and all the way up to $337) a minute, with delays costing almost $40 billion each year – and that’s just in the US.

Luckily, one astrophysicist has been running it over in his mind.

Dr Jason Steffen developed a boarding method almost a decade ago, but airports and airlines have yet to materialise the idea.

To find the quickest way to board a plane, Steffen made a model of a plane and compared boarding rear rows first and front rows first in a simulation, assuming that front rows first would be the slowest. But both boarding methods had almost identical times.

In 2012, Steffen conducted an experimental test with television producer Jon Hotchkiss, where the pair recruited people to board a mock Boeing 757 with 12 rows of six seats and an aside down the centre.

Steffen’s method was compared to boarding in blocks from the rear, random seating and “Wilma” seating – window seats, followed by middle seats, then aisle seats last.

Block boarding (the method currently used) was the slowest, taking almost seven minutes. And Steffen’s method was the fastest, taking just over three and a half minutes.

Steffen’s genius method goes like this:

  • If a plane has 20 rows of seats, with three either side of the window, 20A will board first
  • Then 18A, 16A, 14A and so forth
  • Then boarding shifts to the other side of the plane: 20F, 18F and so on
  • Next, the odd row window seats board in the same way
  • Repeat for middle seats and aisle seats

And that’s it!

However, while some airlines have taken up boarding from both the front and rear doors, none have picked up Steffen’s method since it was published in 2008.

“We’ve had some low-level interest, but nothing’s materialised yet,” he said.

And as for the future of boarding planes? Steffen thinks airlines should still allocate seats, but give up their current boarding method.

“My advice to airlines would be: aeroplane’s open, everyone jump aboard,” he said.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Revealed: the fastest way to board a plane”

  1. Southwest more or less boards this way and has about the fastest turns of any major airline.

    I’m sitting now waiting to board in group 4 on a United flight and SWA probably would have turned two flights in the amount of time I’ve been sitting here.

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Regent Seven Seas breaks bookings record with 2022/23 Voyage Collection

Need proof that travellers are still keen to cruise? Check out this champagne-popping moment from a luxury cruise line’s collection release.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Go on a safari in Sri Lanka from the comfort of your own couch

Couch potatoes, rejoice! You can take a tour of some of Sri Lanka’s most wild national parks from the comfort of your lounge room.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Women from 10 flights taken for invasive medical examinations in Qatar, says Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister

More troubling details have emerged over the Qatar airport incident involving a number of Australian women.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tasmania plans to reopen to NSW from early November

by Christian Fleetwood

Have your NSW clients been yearning for a quarantine-free trip to Tasmania? Well, they can consider this an early Christmas present from Premier Gutwein.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas and Virgin announce new Aussie routes

Tell your clients to pack their bags, because the two airlines have added a range of new local routes, reintroductions and expanded services.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with YTL Hotels’ Luke Hurford

We caught up with YTL Hotels’ senior vice president of strategy to find out how he’s been faring during the pandemic. However, it was hard to hear him through the layer of snow he keeps on his face.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“GREAT SUCCESS”: Kazakhstan cashes in on new Borat film in latest tourism campaign

In some very nice news for Sacha Baron Cohen fans, it looks like Borat’s home country has finally decided to accept him… sort of.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Plane passenger slaps flight attendant after refusing to wear a mask

Just in case you need another reason to hate anti-maskers, have a geeze at this video of an unruly passenger’s shocking behaviour.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess Cruises pushes back its pause on local sailings

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly has extended its pause on office drinks after a particularly bad incident involving a pot plant and copious amounts of slivovitz.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

TUNE IN: New TV show to highlight Australia’s ‘Roads Less Travelled’

Get the popcorn ready and watch the client inquiries roll in, because Network 10 is debuting a new show that places domestic travel front and centre.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Globus and Cosmos launch new Australian and NZ tours

This press release was accompanied by a couple of bottles of wine from the good folk at GFOB, and Travel Weekly’s editor is already on the seocnd one, so please excuse any typos.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Offensive, grossly inappropriate” vaginal examinations of female plane passengers reported to Australian Federal Police

The federal government is demanding answers from the relevant authorities, after 13 Australian women were forced to undergo invasive medical examinations at an international airport.

Share

CommentComments